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What Do Employers Predict This Season Will Bring For Holiday Hiring?


Seasonal staff for busy holiday seasonAs the carved pumpkins of Halloween were being given their final touches and trick-or-treating hosts were filling up their baskets for throngs of excited children, stores across the U.S. were already looking ahead to winter holidays — and many employers had already lined up their seasonal staff for the busy time ahead. Yes, seasonal hiring is in full swing, and though employers expect to hire at similar levels this year as last, according to a new CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 employers, a year’s time has brought more perks in pay, 29 percent of retailers planning to have extra hands on deck around the holidays (a moderate decline from 2010), and nearly one-third of employers planning to turn some seasonal staff into full-time, permanent members of their team.

INFOGRAPHIC: ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Hiring: What Employers Predict This Year Will Bring

Sales, customer service, technology, shipping, and administrative support are all hot areas for holiday hiring this season — let’s take a closer look at what else is happening:

Retail and hospitality outlook

As mentioned above, nearly three in ten retailers will have extra staff on hand to help this holiday season, a moderate decline from last year, and 10 percent of hospitality companies will add seasonal staff this year, the same percentage as last year. What do the similar patterns in seasonal hiring from last year to this year mean for the economy?

As Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, explained:

“Employers are keeping the status quo for holiday hiring as economic uncertainties shake consumer confidence,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “While retail has the lion’s share of seasonal jobs, you can also find opportunities in various industries and corporate roles.”

Where is seasonal hiring happening industry-wide?

Many different types of companies are hiring for seasonal staff this year, in various functional areas where they need help the most during the holiday rush. Across all industries, popular areas for recruitment this holiday season include:

  • Customer Service – 30 percent
  • Administrative/Clerical support – 16 percent
  • Shipping/Delivery – 15 percent
  • Technology – 12 percent
  • Inventory management – 10 percent
  • Non-retail sales – 9 percent
  • Accounting/Finance – 8 percent
  • Marketing – 8 percent

Better pay is on the way

While the number of seasonal staff being brought on for the next few months may not look all that different than last year, one thing near and dear to many workers’ hearts has changed: what they’re getting paid. More than half of employers (53 percent) reported they will pay $10 or more per hour to seasonal staff, up from 48 percent who said the same last year. Fourteen percent will pay $16 or more, up from 9 percent last year. How does your business compare when it comes to pay — are you paying more or less this year?

Seasonal hiring: Still going strong

While there tends to be a mad rush to secure a seasonal job once the leaves start to change, many employers are still recruiting for candidates deep into the snowy underbrush of the winter holiday season:

It's Still Open Season for Seasonal Hiring

  • Thirty-three percent of employers who are hiring seasonal staff reported they are still recruiting for open positions in November.
  • Eleven percent said they may still be recruiting as late as December.

If you’re still recruiting for seasonal staff, you may want to check out, which connects retail job seekers with employers looking to fill retail positions from in-store to corporate and everywhere in between. It’s the perfect place to recruit for seasonal retail candidates when you need to find the right people fast.

From seasonal to all-season employees

Nearly one-third (30 percent) of employers who are hiring seasonal help plan to transition some employees into full-time, permanent staff, meaning there is a lot of room for workers to make their mark this season and secure a great job. Workers looking to turn their seasonal gig into a full-time, permanent position should consider the key traits employers are seeking for seasonal-to-permanent staff.

Many of the things employers are looking for revolve around employees being proactive, offering help above and beyond what is asked, and, believe it or not, simply showing interest in a full-time gig. When you look at the below criteria a bit more closely, most of the items mentioned are things all kinds of employers are looking for in their employees.

To stand out as a candidate for a long-term opportunity, hiring managers recommended the following:

  • Provide above and beyond customer service. Offer help instead of waiting to be asked for it. – 66 percent
  • Let the employer know up front that you’re interested in permanent employment – 49 percent
  • Proactively ask for more projects – 45 percent
  • Ask thoughtful questions about the organization – 39 percent
  • Present ideas on how to do something better or try something new – 34 percent

Employers’ biggest seasonal hiring turnoffs

What are the biggest turnoffs for employers when interviewing for seasonal jobs? A lack of flexibility or expressed interest, unawareness of the company or brand, and discount-job-shopping top the list, according to employers surveyed:

  • Someone who is unwilling to work certain hours – 70 percent
  • Someone who isn’t enthusiastic – 63 percent
  • Someone who is more interested in the discount than anything else – 40 percent
  • Someone who knows nothing about our company/products – 36 percent
  • Someone who shows up wearing clothes or merchandise from a competitor’s store – 22 percent


Read the full press release, send a snapshot to your co-worker with our seasonal hiring infographic, or snag the right seasonal candidates.


Do these results fall in line with what your organization is planning for seasonal hiring this year?


Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.


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